Nepal’s largest communist party officially splits

PTI, Aug 19, 2021, 1:49 PM IST

Kathmandu: Nepal’s main opposition CPN-UML, the largest communist party of the country, has officially split, with one of its factions led by dissident leader Madhav Kumar Nepal applying for registering a new political party, after the government backed a controversial ordinance to make it easier for political parties to split.

Nepal on Wednesday submitted an application at the Election Commission (EC), for registering a new political party named CPN-UML (Socialist).

Earlier on Wednesday, on the recommendation of the Council of Ministers, President Bidya Devi Bhandari issued an ordinance to amend the Political Parties Act 2021, aimed at easing the procedure for political parties to split.

The amendment ordinance stipulates that 20 per cent or more members of the parliamentary party and the central committee of a political party can split their mother party.

Before the amendment, provisions of the Political Party Act required dissidents to have the support of 40 per cent of members in the parliamentary party and the central committee to split their mother party.

The ordinance introduced by the Sher Bahadur Deuba government has led to splits in at least two parties, marking what observers say is an unprecedented political event, The Kathmandu Post reported.

The ordinance was introduced by Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba-led government on Tuesday, to make it easy for the dissidents to split their mother parties, The Himalayan Times reported.

The ordinance is likely to help Madhav Kumar Nepal-Jhalanath Khanal faction of the CPN-UML faction that has been playing a crucial role in the formation of the current coalition government and is vital to ensure its continuity.

Earlier, former Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli had also tried to issue the ordinance seeking to make it easy to split the party. However, his move was met with fierce criticism within the CPN-UML resulting in the President rescinding the decision.

The registration of a new party by Nepal brings to end a long-standing feud between him and former Prime Minister Oli in the UML.

Nepal, a former prime minister, had gone against the party and supported the then Opposition alliance in its bid to topple the government led by Oli.

On Tuesday, Oli had expelled Nepal and 13 other lawmakers.

After applying for the new party, Nepal issued a statement alleging that Oli had pushed the communist movement towards dissolution.

“There is a need to reorganize and transform the UML. So we have decided to register the CPN UML (Samajbadi). I urge all to participate in this movement and support us. I appeal to all to mobilize to strengthen the communist movement and mega campaign for democracy and nationalism,” said Nepal.

The new ordinance on Wednesday also facilitated the Mahantha Thakur-led faction of the Janata Samajwadi Party (JSP) to register for a new party.

According to JSP’s Rakesh Mishra, party leaders including Mahanta Thakur and Rajendra Mahato, went to the EC to apply to get a new political party registered.

The name of the new party will be Samajwadi Party Nepal (Democratic). With this, the key Madhesi party has also officially split into two.

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